- President Trump's new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, is causing problems with the United States Postal Service, leading to delays in mail.
- Trump is also pushing for more changes and casting doubt on the Post Office's functions.
- I'm one of thousands of veterans who rely on the postal service to get prescription medication.
- If Trump continues to make the USPS a political front, it could have devastating results for veterans.
- Barb Cotton is US Navy Veteran with multiple sclerosis who currently resides in Lebanon, PA, where she was born and raised.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is back in the news again. House Democrats this week opened an investigation into allegations he coerced employees into making contributions to his preferred Republican candidates, and then reimbursed them. If it's true, that's not just improper, it's illegal.
But I'm still waiting for answers on an earlier act of alleged underhandedness by DeJoy: His misguided overhaul of the United States Postal Service.
I am one of thousands of veterans whose prescription medications have been delayed because President Trump put DeJoy — a businessman with no experience in government — in charge of the USPS.
More than 90% of veterans' prescription medications are delivered through the USPS, including my own. I get medication to treat my multiple sclerosis delivered each month by mail.
For over a year, I've received my medication on time or early. Even the past several months of coronavirus didn't cause delays. But after Postmaster DeJoy's operational changes in July, my treatment arrived six days late.
The medication I've been taking can lower heart rate and blood pressure significantly. You cannot go off of it cold turkey. If I miss just two days, I risk a flare-up of my MS, which can cause debilitating problems, including inhibiting my ability to walk. I was extremely fortunate that I had a sample packet with a week's supply from a previous doctor's appointment. If my treatment is delayed again, I honestly don't know what I'll do.
I am far from being an isolated case. Massive delays in mail delivery mean that more than 14 million Americans may not get their medications on time. Across the country, veterans with cancer are getting their chemo medication late, and those with Type One diabetes are seeing delays in receiving their insulin.
President Trump claims he's the best president for the military in history, yet he has been silent about this huge problem facing former service members. And when Postmaster DeJoy testified at a recent Senate hearing, I didn't see any regret about the delays caused by changes he put into place, let alone medication delays that affect veterans.
Leave politics out of the USPS
Before taking his current job, DeJoy was a civilian in the corporate world. He has displayed no understanding for running the Postal Service. Instead, he has ruined it in just a matter of months. He never once considered the adverse impacts his overhaul would have on veterans or seniors.
When asked during a congressional hearing in July what percentage of veterans rely on the mail for prescriptions, DeJoy had no answer. He seemed to not understand just how much the Department of Veterans Affairs — which is tasked with providing medical care to former members of the US military — relies on the postal service.
When service members join the military, we sign up to serve our country and take an oath to defend and protect our Constitution. Similarly, the USPS is constitutionally guaranteed. We entrust postal workers to provide a service for our country — not for the president.
The House of Representatives passed a bill over the summer to reverse DeJoy's changes, but President Trump is blocking it. His war on the Postal Service is coming at the expense of veterans and Americans nationwide. This isn't about politics: During my nine years in the Navy, I served under presidents from both parties — Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton.
When I look at Postmaster DeJoy, I see a corporate donor who cares more about profit and power than the mission of the Postal Service. Like the military, the Postal Service is a public service for all Americans. President Trump must order DeJoy to reverse his destructive changes to the Postal Service.
The military isn't a business firm or a political outfit. The US Postal Service shouldn't be turned into one either.
Barbara Cotton is a retired US Navy veteran who resides in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).
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